Everyone loves a party. Britain’s unique range of celebratory traditions have always been central to rural life, and these range from the practical to the quirky to the downright bizarre. Some were unique to particular villages, for example the Cooper’s Hill Cheese Roll in Gloucestershire, where participants chased two Double Gloucester cheeses down a precipitous hill. Others, such as May Day, Plough Monday and Rogationtide, were common across Britain.
Customs duty is a charge levied on most goods which are imported or exported and customs officials are responsible for the examination of such goods arriving at ports of entry and the collection of these duties. By contrast, excise payments are made on goods produced within Britain and until 1909 were collected separately by Excise officers working for the Board of Excise.
We tend to remember those who commit crime rather than those who suffered as a result of those crimes. Who can name, for example, the wife who Dr Crippen murdered, or, more recently, all the victims of Fred and Rose West? It is the murderer who achieves immortality, as a result of ending the life of others.
I recently spent a few days in Ravenstone, a small village in the heart of the Leicestershire countryside. Near the sandstone church, that dates from 1323, I was walking past some very old almshouse buildings, set around a pleasant yard, when I saw a green plaque affixed to the red brick wall on the street side. The commemoration was for a past resident of the almshouse, Ann Ayre Hely, a Crimean War nurse.
This month it will be 200 years since the birth of perhaps our most revered and deeply loved monarch – Queen Victoria. So used are we to seeing this undoubtedly great monarch as an elderly and rather dumpy matriarch and widow that it is very difficult to imagine her in her youth, let alone as a new-born infant. Even the recent ITV television series, Victoria, started when the princess was a young girl of 18, about to inherit the throne. The story of the Queen’s first days has been somewhat kept under wraps; but in fact, there are many points of interest surrounding the birth that might help us understand the extraordinary position that Victoria later came to occupy.
TheGenealogist’s latest innovation, the Map Explorer launched recently to help you find an ancestor’s property and watch the landscape change over time, has now had its first powerful new features added. Further enhancements are coming soon. Joining the georeferenced Lloyd George Data layer now are headstones and war memorials, with links to see photographs, transcripts and setting for the latter.
Until relatively recently, buckles and clasps were the primary means of securing loose ends and attaching separate articles to one another firmly, yet in an adjustable manner. Comprising four main components – the frame, chape, bar and prong - early examples include Roman and Scythian bronze and iron buckles used for strapping on armour: indeed the word ‘buckle’ derives from Latin buccula – the cheek strap of a helmet. Early buckles, having many military uses, were indispensable in warrior societies, becoming more of a fashion statement from the 1300s onwards, when courtly belt clasps and buckles for horse trappings were splendidly ornamented. During the Tudor period more advanced manufacturing methods brought cheaper moulded buckles to a wider population. By the 18th century both brass and silver were common materials and innovative shoe buckles were must-have accessories for fashionable men. Ladies’ dresses often used clasps of delicate materials like pearl and shell, while plastic, known from the 1860s, became common for modern buckles in the early-mid 20th century.
The region as we know it originated as an independent petty kingdom named Glywysing, believed to be named after a 5th-century Welsh king called Glywys. The name Morgannwg or Glamorgan (‘territory of Morgan’) reputedly derives from the eighth-century king Morgan ab Athrwys. By virtue of its location and geography, Morgannwg was the second part of Wales, after Gwent, to fall under the control of the Normans and was frequently the scene of fighting between the Marcher Lords and Welsh princes.
Take a romp through the long eighteenth-century in this collection of 25 short tales. Meet actresses, whores and high-born ladies, politicians, inventors, royalty and criminals as we travel through the Georgian era in all its glorious and gruesome glory. In roughly chronological order, covering the reign of the four Georges, 1714-1830 and set within the framework of the main events of the era, these tales are accompanied by over 100 colour illustrations.
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